More than 200 locals from Tedim, northern Chin State, held a protest in front of the town’s Chin National Front (CNF) liaison office on Tuesday to demand its closure.
“The CNF do not represent all Chin people. We are not satisfied with the opening of this office and being neglected by the authorities despite our appeal which was submitted to the President [Thein Sein], leaders of Parliament and state minister since February,” said protester Non Chiam Tom.
Local people used the opening ceremony of the ethnic armed group’s liaison office to shout slogans such as, “We do not want the CNF in our area” and “We want only President Thein Sein’s governance” while marching down the main road of Tedim.
“Before the ceasefire and peace talks with the government, the CNF failed to protect its own people but forced us to pay ransoms and even killed its own people,” said Mung Lek, an organizer of the protest. “We are against these actions. We already live in our region peacefully. If their office is in our region, we cannot stay in peace.”
A general strike against the planned opening of the liaison office was also held in the town in June.
Peace talks between the CNF and Naypyidaw representatives were held at Hakha, the capital of Chin State, on May 7, with the subsequent agreement including a ceasefire and the opening of rebel liaison offices in Tedim, Thantlang and Matupi.
During that time, protesters submitted objections to the local authorities. Despite Tuesday’s opening ceremony in Tedim, the CNF originally said it would not open liaison offices in the region without the consent of local people.
The CNF was formed on March 20, 1988, in the Indian state of Mizoram by the border with Burma with the stated aim of securing self-determination for the Chin people and democracy within a Federal Union.